September 2014, Karl Lagerfeld unveiled his Chanel collection during Paris Fashion week in the Grand Palais. The Grand Palais itself was transformed for this SS 2015 collection in order to resemble Parisian streets with beautiful carved windows and black steel balconies hugging huge glass windows. It was evident that the show itself was to be different, not because of the Parisian facade and wealthy, well known guests eagerly awaiting to see what Lagerfeld had in store for the fashion house this season, but the movement. The fashion world’s most well known models at the time parade in gangs along the catwalk to Chaka Khan’s ‘I Am Every Woman’, holding placards reading ‘make fashion not war’ and ‘history is her story’. The show became a feminist protest for fashion and women’s rights and made way for political change by fashion. Clothes can say a lot about someone’s political stance and this collection took womens politics by the reigns, proving that they did have a voice and there is nothing wrong with the occasional fashion upheaval.
The collection itself was not just a test on the politics of the fashion but a test to Lagerfeld as he has been scrutinised for a number of comments made about women in the fashion industry. Since Chanel’s show in 2014, the likes of Prada and Dior have taken a leaf out of the houses book and celebrated women in their clothing, arguably since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. In the age of Trump is has become important, now than ever to express views and opinion through the use of clothing and fashion.
“Slogan t-shirts can be purchased for as little as £10 on online sites”
September 2016 saw the introduction of that ‘feminist’ shirt in Dior’s Spring/Summer 2017 Ready-to-Wear collection, the first collection presented by Dior’s first female creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. The famous shirt was paired with a variation of tulle skirts and masculine shapes and caught the attention of the media and social network sites as soon as the powerful slogan tee was seen on the runway. The shirt has since appeared on the backs of many women within Hollywood promoting women’s rights during the Women’s March in January last year. The t-shirt, along with many other shirts featured on the high street, have allowed women to express their political views in no other way anyone has done so before. A simple slogan t-shirt has allowed women all over the world to feel empowered and look powerful at the same time and the shirts themselves are super easy to wear as seen by Dior. With a pair of dark wash jeans or vinyl leggings no one will be wanting to mess with a ‘nasty woman again’. Slogan t-shirts can be purchased for as little as £10 on online sites such a Boohoo and Etsy.com in different styles and colours.
Although the use of slogans to promote political views was seen to be a thing of the past and only appearing on basic apparel, this year the slogan scarf is making waves and can be found from highstreet stores Urban Outfitters, ASOS and Zara. Making a statement has never been easier this season. The scarf is the perfect alternative for those who are wishing to make a statement but in understated manner.
Politics has almost become the biggest fashion statement of the last 2 years and does not show signs of retiring any time soon. This ‘revolution’ proves that fashion is not just about the clothes someone wears and how they chose to wear them, it shows how fashion reflects the current tensions and social changes in the world today. If it is not the clothing that women are wearing on the catwalk, it’s the props and backdrops used to convey and demonstrate the irritation and struggles received by women on a daily basis.
It is also imperative to note that fashions role in politics is not just to promote women’s rights, but to also promote equality within the industry and to include women and men of all races and backgrounds, meeting the demand for diversity on the runway. Luxury fashion brand Mara Hoffman presented a wealth of women back in February last year as a way of stamping out claims that high fashion does not promote diversity. Hoffman ended her show during fashion week last year with a wealth of diverse women to stomp out the common stereotype. Whilst the fashion industry aims at combating contentious political issues, audiences are yet to understand the role between fashion and politics and whether they are to work hand in hand, there is nothing to do at the moment is to let designers and key figures in the industry to guide the public and stand as leaders to those who feel political loss.